Cavities - A Silent Global Threat You Didn’t Know

You must have heard about cavities and dental caries ever since you were a little kid. Especially when all you wanted to eat was candy and other sweet treats. And then your parents insisted that you would brush your teeth, remember? Well, if you listened to them, you might have saved some painful trips to the dentist.

Everyone talks about the importance of brushing your teeth 2-3 times per day and flossing at least once per day, right? But do you really know what happens to your teeth if you skip your dental hygiene and consume too much sugar? The truth is, there is an ongoing pandemic nobody pays as much attention as they should, and it’s called “tooth decay”, an infection caused by cavities.

 What are dental caries?

 Cavities, also known as dental caries, can affect any person of any age and gender and severely damage the tooth enamel. The tooth enamel is the outer and visible part of the crown, which consists of 96% minerals and protects the teeth from chewing, grinding, and painful temperatures and substances.  Even though it is the hardest substance in our body, it can be degraded from the excessive consumption of sugar, acidic drinks, and plaque bacteria. So, when our dental hygiene is poor and we consume foods and drinks high on starch and sugar often, it is very likely to see some black spots on the surface of our teeth. These are essentially openings that allow the bacteria to penetrate further into the dentine and erode the deeper layers of the teeth, causing toothache, infections, and eventually tooth loss.

What are the symptoms?

The extension of the symptoms depends on the location and the damage caused by bacteria. How do you know when you have dental caries? In the very early stages, there might not be any visible spots or pain. When the cavity progresses, a small hole and discoloration will become apparent and possibly higher sensitivity to sugary treats and cold drinks or foods. If the cavity reaches deeper layers of the tooth, affecting the roots or nerves, then the typical giveaways are the bad taste in the mouth and spontaneous pain, sharp pain from hot drinks and foods, and from pressure. At that stage, the infection is widespread and a visit to the dentist is absolutely necessary to prevent the infection from advancing to the jaw bone, gums, or other teeth. Happily, Nordics has a robust combination of ingredients to prevent cavity formation and scrape away bacteria buildup in your mouth.

Can you be prone to cavities?

Based on a few clinical studies, teeth brushing and flossing are not the panacea to never getting cavities. Researchers claim that tooth decay has everything to do with sugar consumption because this is what the bacteria feed on and damage the teeth. On top of that, there is a link between genetics and tooth decay, which is still under scientific investigation. Experts have based this assumption on the fact that genes are responsible for the quality of teeth enamel. Since some people are born with softer enamel, they are more susceptible to tooth decay, even if their diet is not that high on sugar and their oral hygiene is good. Gene variations in the saliva can also play a role in how well the immune system responds to a bacteria overgrowth. Another condition that can cause gum diseases and tooth decay is dry mouth or xerostomia. One of the key roles of saliva production is to remove bacteria and food residue from the surface of the teeth, so the low saliva flow can cause bacteria accumulation.

Further health implications

Did you know tooth decay can lead to a number of serious health problems, including heart and brain infections? Any infection can cause a lot of damage if left untreated. But in the case of dental care, this can turn life-threatening really fast! Apart from gingivitis and periodontitis, which are diseases of the gums and bones, these are a few of the medical conditions caused by unattended cavities:


Respiratory issues. According to the American Academy of Periodontology, people who have plaque buildup and extensive gum damage, breathe in the bacteria from the infected teeth and gums to their respiratory system. This can lead to respiratory tract complications, pneumonia, and other pulmonary infections, and hospitalization is required.

Heart problems. Similar to respiratory complications, the bacteria can be transferred to the bloodstream and the heart arteries. Especially people who suffer from periodontal diseases run a high risk of accumulating bacteria around the heart arteries, which can inhibit the proper blood flow. As for people who suffer from bleeding gums, this dental infection could trigger a heart condition, called endocarditis, which occurs due to bacteria present around the heart valves and can cause heart attacks.

Diabetes. Patients with this diagnosis are more likely to develop gum diseases as their immune system is weakened. At the same time, patients with severe gum diseases run the risk of developing diabetes due to blood-glucose imbalances and the production of harmful bacteria.

Brain diseases. Studies have revealed a correlation between gum infections and brain infections such as meningitis. This serious and life-threatening disease can result from an untreated and extended gum infection, where the bacteria of the infected area can travel to the membranes near the brain and spinal cord and cause severe swelling, sepsis, stroke, and paralysis.

How to prevent them

Even if genetics play a role in the quality of the teeth, it is of the utmost importance that we take care of our oral health. Tooth decay may be a complex disease, but it is easily preventable. It comes down to maintaining good oral hygiene and specifically brushing your teeth 2-3 times per day using fluoride toothpaste, flossing, and rinsing with mouthwash. A healthier diet and lifestyle which limits sugary foods and drinks, fizzy drinks, carb-loaded snacks and smoking is also a preventive measure you can take to ensure less chance of getting dental caries.  Needless to say, regular dental checkups once or twice a year for meticulous examination and treatment are mandatory to keep the cavities at bay.